Direct Aid Society country director Mr Lyes Alem speaks to the media after donating of foodstuffs to Angel of Hope Foundation in Harare yesterday. — Picture: John Manzongo

ZIMBABWE Women Writers yesterday handed over to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa recipe books titled “Kubika Machikichori Volume I” which highlight the importance of traditional dishes and contains information on how best the dishes are prepared.

The book was presented at a time when the First Lady is spearheading a drive for Zimbabweans to embrace traditional dishes which have high nutritional value and medicinal properties.

Most Zimbabweans were dumping traditional dishes which they viewed as inferior to exotic dishes which exposed people to hypertension, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases, among many other health challenges.

Speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony, Beverly Sande, the chairperson of Zimbabwe Women Writers, said they were privileged to partner the First Lady in the work that she is doing countrywide.

“We can see that she is passionate for the good health of the nation not only nutritionally, but even morally,” she said. “We want to support her passion in the nutritional sector by giving her this book called ‘Kubika Machikichori’ which was written by members of the first generation of women writers.

“It’s not only speaking to the nutritional aspects, we are also supporting the work that Amai is doing for the environment.

“We see she is passionate about conserving the environment and I guess from the book it’s evident that everything that is used in there, all the ingredients, the produce are home-grown and many of them are actually from the wild, so it complements all the work that she is doing to say we must preserve our environment so that we can then have this produce to be able to make this traditional food.

“So, we are really grateful that Amai has come up with these traditional cooking competitions that she has been doing countrywide and we as women writers our job is to make sure that we do not lose our heritage as a people and as a nation.”

Sande said as female writers, they were documenting all the important aspects of the country’s tradition to make sure that the next generations can benefit from such things.

“We are grateful that we can partake in this wonderful programme that Amai is doing,” she said with pride. One of the writers, Ambuya Colette Mutangadura (75) of Hwedza, said she wrote the book as a way of preserving what she learnt during her youth for the benefit of future generations.

“I wrote this book so that what I saw from my grandmother, the way they prepared food, the sumptuousness of the dishes and all the niceties from food can be available for future generations,” she said while beaming with pride. “I did not forget what I ate like gwatakwata, rupiza, nhopi and drinks from the muchakata tree which we called mukumbi wehacha, mukumbi wematamba. All these things took my heart and I was worried as to where these things were going.

“I thought as a writer I had to write these things for posterity. In the First Lady, we saw a courageous woman who is trying to uplift our country, uplift the woman and trying to keep holding the herm of knowing that these are the things that help people.

“Our children are engaging in prostitution to get buns, they no longer want to gather the mazhanje fruit on their way from school including hacha, matohwe or nhunguru. They want freezits that have no health benefits. This forced me to write about these traditional foods and together with other writers we came up with a recipes for a variety of our indigenous foods.”

Speaking at the same function, Gogo Taona Susan Mtshiya (74) said she penned the book as a way of giving something to the people of Zimbabwe.

“I was born with the desire to do something that would help my country,” she said. “We are proud our book is set to become popular in our country Zimbabwe through the good works of our First Lady. The move by Amai to popularize our dishes, is expected to promote healthy eating and fight Covid-19 and other ailments like cancer.

“Our recipe book will also provide exposure on the various preparation methods of traditional foods in Zimbabwe.Traditional foods are nutrient-rich and have a long history of supporting health and wellness.”

Gogo Mutangadura and Gogo Mtshiya are the first generation writers of Zimbabwe Women Writers.

Gogo Mutangadura is a renowned writer who writes school set books.

Meanwhile, touched by Amai Mnangagwa’s Angel of Hope Foundation’s efforts to ease the plight of the elderly, the disabled and other vulnerable groups across the country, Direct Aid Society donated an assortment of foods to the First Lady for onward distribution to the needy.

They donated mealie-meal, rice and cooking oil.

The donation will boost the already running programmes being undertaken by the First Lady to cushion vulnerable communities.

Country director of the charity organisation Mr Lyes Alem said they were inspired to give a helping hand by the work being done by the First Lady countrywide to ease the plight of the needy.

“Traditionally, each year we distribute food hampers to underprivileged people in Zimbabwe and this year we decided to partner Angel of Hope Foundation,” he said. “The First Lady has left no stone unturned in ensuring that disadvantaged groups have access to food and we are happy to support her.

“We recognised the immense work she is doing through her foundation hence our commitment to donate these food items to her foundation. The First Lady is helping people.”

Focus on vulnerable groups is a priority for the First Lady who has been working hard to cushion them.

To date, her humanitarian support programmes have benefited thousands of food insecure households both in the urban and rural areas, hence the consignment handed over by Direct Aid Society will bolster her already running programmes.

SOURCE: The Herald

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